A decade of Flying Fish

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When Chris Keff was ready to launch Flying Fish, ten years ago, Belltown was still a culinary wasteland. To be sure, Marco’s Supper Club and Macrina Bakery had just opened to keep her company, but her concept of a seafood restaurant with Asian overtones was considered, well, perhaps a bit too “San Francisco.”

Seafood Hot Pot at Flying Fish.jpg Ahi Tuna Poke.jpg

Chris had paid her dues: the Four Seasons in New York, McCormick & Schmick and the Hunt Club in Seattle. The flavors were new and honest, with unusual fish (bronzini, opah) and exotic preparations (curries, stir-fries, lemongrass).

Within a couple of years, the Fish was ranked one of Seattle’s top restaurants and Chris herself was named Best Chef in the Northwest/Hawaii by the James Beard Foundation.

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From the start, it’s been a hip spot, and as the line snaked out the door and her management responsibilities grew, Chris recruited a talented and unassuming chef Steve Smrstik to watch the stoves, and an experienced, New Zealand-born wine guy, Brian Huse, to build an award-winning wine list and run front-of-the-house.

Cloudy Bay at Flying Fish.jpg Chef Steve Smrstik.jpg Sea Scallops w Thai yellow curry.jpg

Then a new building across First Avenue had room for a restaurant, so Chris launched Fandango, but the space was awkward and expensive. She closed it after four years and moved most of the staff back to Flying Fish so she’d have enough people on hand to open for lunch.

And she turned her interests to sustainable agriculture and organic farming. On the restaurant’s 10th anniversary, at the end of July, the Flying Fish menu for the first time carried these words: “All of our raw ingredients are organic or harvested from the wild.”

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To celebrate, a gala picnic yesterday down in Kent, at Whistling Train Farm, with family-style platters of king salmon and plump local mussels.

King salmon at Flying Fish anniversary picnic.JPG Mussels at Flying Fish anniversary picnic.JPG

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Cornichon published on July 25, 2005 4:18 PM.

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